TEDDY BEARS FOR TEDDY CARE
by Wayman Wong
Coordinating a cavalcade of benefits and distributing hundreds of stuffed animals to hospitalized "kids of all ages" might sound like a bear, but Ruby Rims wouldn't have it any other way. Rims is the founder of Teddy Care, and each year he puts on fund-raisers featuring top cabaret singers, such as Tom Andersen, Bobby Belfry, Mary Foster Conklin, Scott Coulter, Natalie Douglas, Annie Hughes, Lina Koutrakos, Jeanne MacDonald, Karen Mason and Marcus Simeone.
And the cost of admission to cabaret's cuddliest shows? A brand-new teddy bear, a $15 cover and a $10 minimum. Walk into any Teddy Care benefit and you'll see dozens and dozens of bears lining the walls and the floors. Ruby collects them all and takes them to New York hospitals. Dressed as a bear, he gives the toys away to children with leukemia and cancer, and grownups in AIDS wards and hospices.
In the past 12 years, Ruby has passed out more than 5,000 teddy bears, and it's the adults who are especially grateful. He recalls once giving a bear to a prison inmate with AIDS who cried because "no one ever gave me anything." Ruby says, "Imagine how different the world would be if we all gave everybody something."
Hosted by Ruby, a multi-MAC Award-winning drag artist, this year's Teddy Care shows will be held Sundays in November at 7 p.m. at the West Bank Cafe, 407 W. 42nd St., NYC. John McMahon will be the musical director. Part of the proceeds will also go to the Manhattan Plaza AIDS Project. No credit cards. Call (212) 695-6909. If you can't make it to the show, but would like to contribute a new teddy bear, send it to:
400 W. 43rd St., 10F
New York, NY 10036
Here are the lineups for the four Teddy Care shows:
Sunday, Nov. 3: Bobby Belfry, Jim Caruso, Mary Foster Conklin, Bill Daugherty, Nina Hennessey, Jeanne MacDonald, Sidney Myer, Ron Poole, Marta Sanders, Rebecca Spencer, Eastern Standard Time.
Sunday, Nov. 10: Tom Andersen, Jarrod Cafaro, Rick Crom, Natalie Douglas, Lucille Carr-Kaffashan, Karen Mack & Michael Holland, Teri Lynn Paul, Marcus Simeone, Rochelle Seldin, Michael Vaccaro, Margaret Wright.
Sunday, Nov. 17: Leslie Anderson, Elaine Brier, Charles Cermele, Courtenay Day, Scott Coulter, Paul Greenwood, Annie Hughes, Lina Koutrakos, Judy Kreston & David Lahm, Rick Jensen, Sue Matsuki, Carolyn Montgomery, Maureen Kelly Stewart.
Sunday, Nov. 24: James Beaman, Scott Cooper, Flotilla De Barge, DAR & Christy Vanndecamp, Joseph "Go" Mahan, Karen Mason, Jay Rogers, Richard Skipper, Rick Skye.
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